#25 Crapometer

Free Shot


Jay Maloney put off college to stay home and care for his Guinness-swilling grandfather, Grandpa Shame, a proud veteran of WWII. His reward? Getting stuck in a soul-sucking job stocking hemorrhoid creams and panty liners during the night shift at the local grocery.

Ok, right here you lose me. The idea that panty liners and hemorrhoid creams are de facto funny is teen boy humor. Miss Snark is not a teen boy, nor is 95% of the mystery buying public.

One night, Jay's best friend, Fat Murph, alerts him to a hot female shopper checking out condoms. When Jay finds out it is Angie back home on a break from school with her new boyfriend, he flips out and lets her steal all the condoms she can carry.

Grandpa Shame is furious when he finds out Jay got fired. Drunk from a night of card playing, he bestows upon his grandson three hard-learned lessons: 1. Don't show weakness to the enemy, 2. Always expect the worst, and 3. Never pass an opportunity to take a free shot against an aggressive opponent.

The next day, Jay and Fat Murph respond to a help wanted sign outside a pizza restaurant in need of a pair of delivery drivers. They're hired but only have Grandpa Shame's gas-guzzling '74 Cadillac Eldorado to do the job.

An odd delivery to a Volkswagen fan club party introduces Jay to the alluring Cat Kerwin, the club's eerie leader Kirk Godard, and Kirk's mysterious helper Gil Becker. Gil tells Jay that the club is eager to grow. To publicize, he offers Jay a free loan on a Beetle, so long as he drives the car adorned with club ads to all his deliveries.

Jay agrees. The fan club grows, and along the way, Jay falls in love with Cat. After slipping out with Cat from a fan club meeting, a cop pulls him over for driving a stolen vehicle, the Beetle. Cat somehow gets the cop to let them go, causing Jay to suspect something's not quite right with both the free Beetle and his new girlfriend.

After Grandpa Shame catches Jay in the back of his Cadillac fooling around with Cat, he orders Jay to take the car to the wash. There he sees Gil swipe an orange Beetle. Furious that he was duped into driving a stolen car, Jay chases the orange Beetle through town until he is cutoff by a black Corvette driven by Cat.

Cat tells Jay not to call the cops on Gil. She is an investigative support employee for the FBI, and she doesn't want anything messed up before she is able to help her agent build the case. Jay agrees on the promise that he can join her on her next intelligence assignment.

They follow Gil into a cheap strip bar where they see him with Kirk talking to someone neither knows. Once Gil and Kirk leave, Cat goes way undercover as a dancer to attract his attention. She learns he is a sales rep who has sold three underground storm shelters to Kirk.

cliche, cliche, cliche. Undercover in a strip bar is so hackneyed even Demi Moore couldn't get it to generate box office interest.

Gil disappears, and Kirk dates Angie, a new member to the fan club. Angry, Jay goes to confront Kirk, but he can't find him. At Kirk's property where he houses landscaping resources, he uncovers one of the shelters. Inside is Gil's rotting dead body. He also finds a trove of Nazi Germany paraphernalia. Kirk discovers Jay and locks him in the bunker, then leaves to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting auto show crowd in Dallas.

right here is where the plot stops making sense. Wreak havoc on an unsuspecting auto show crowd? Wtf?

Cat, who had been trailing Kirk until he left, frees Jay from the bunker. With Gil dead, she finally reveals that Gil was a retired CIA operative chasing Kirk as a hobby. To help explain why Gil would bother, Cat reads a letter she finds inside the shelter from Adolph Hitler implying that Kirk might be related to Hitler's secret bastard son.

a letter explaining it all. please. That devices signals weak plot faster than anything except "and then Bob realized he was truly a woman" or dreaming the solution to the crime.

Cat and Jay rush downtown, but not before they see a group of Beetles, armed with bombs composed of Kirk's fertilizer and fuel, detonated to bring down Reunion Tower, a Dallas skyline landmark. Kirk almost runs them over speeding away. Cat is ordered by her special agent to remain in place, but Jay, remembering Shame's rules, is unwilling to stay put.

cause of course, if you like Volkswagens, you're a mad bomber? This stopped making sense two paragraphs ago.

Jay chases Kirk in his Cadillac to the Cotton Bowl stadium where he sees Angie greeting Kirk, unaware she arrived in a bomb-loaded Beetle. Another fan club member secretly in love with Kirk waits to whisk them away in a helicopter, but she freaks when she sees Angie and detonates her car. Jay saves Angie from the explosion as Kirk barely escapes in time. Angie and Jay kiss, but Jay stops to say he's found another. Much to the delight of Grandpa Shame, Jay's also found his life's true calling, a job with the FBI.

This is a mess. Yes, it's very very hard to convey humor in a synopsis but humor aside, this synopsis screams "this plot doesn't begin to work". Even Carl Hiassen's plots hold together if you strip out the humor.

One of the benefits of writing a synopsis was mentioned earlier: if you can't write one that shows a coherent plot, the problem might be the book doesn't have one, not that you can't write a good synopsis.

1 comment:

Edie Ramer said...

Eek! I have an undercover strip club scene in the synopsis I sent you. I'm cringing already.